ferhat özgür, 'metamorphosis chat', installation view
mattress factory art museum / pittsburgh-2011
May 13, 2011 - August 21, 2011Mattress Factory 500 Sampsonia Way Pittsburgh, PA 15212 USA
Neighbo(u)rhood is the title of this summer's large group exhibition at the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The exhibition includes events, installations and video-based works, which present differing points of departure and reflections upon the idea of neighborhood. The participating artists are Glenn Loughran, Ferhat Özgür, Seamus Nolan, Sarah Pierce/The Metropolitan Complex, Diane Samuels, John Smith, Elisabeth Subrin and Dawn Weleski. The title refers to a difference of translation but also an assertion of the role of oneself in the existence of neighborhood.
In the popular imagination the term neighborhood conjures up ideas of home, community and even common identity, but is this really so? How often do such images capture the complexity and conflictual nature of living together, of sharing space, of negotiating difference and of creating consensus? This exhibition re-considers neighborhood, the figure of the neighbor, and the deliberation of how we live together. Can the figure of the neighbor propose an alternative to the dichotomy of friend or enemy? Can the classical concept of neighborhood be used to reconsider social and political formation as complex and incomplete, universal and particular, representative and invisible.
During the late nineteenth century, Pittsburgh was a central destination for generations of immigrants who carved out a living while working in the steel mills, iron, glass, and other factories along the three famous rivers. The city, often called ‘The City of Immigrants’, offered the promise of economic prosperity in the land of the free and the land of opportunity. While this massive influx has not been repeated during the late twentieth or twenty-first centuries, neighborhoods such as Squirrel Hill and Polish Hill acknowledge the historical formations of communities to a site, city or nation according to ethnic, cultural and religious affinities.
Today in Pittsburgh, it is common for people to define their home not by city limits but by neighborhood boundaries. Thus the idea of neighborhood informs a sense of belonging, but an identity beyond that of the cultural, ethnic, religious or social. In this sense neighborhood operates as a space in which there is a juxtaposition of difference but also a potential for alternative forms of community not based on identity but on the common.
Neighbo(u)rhood will reflect upon and open discussion on areas including the neighbor, participation, community, the common, democracy, socio-political shifts and immigration. The exhibition will be presented both at the Mattress Factory and in different sites in Pittsburgh. A related series of public talks and events will also take place throughout the exhibition period with their starting points being some of the exhibition's many underlying subjects.
Artists in the Exhibition:
Glenn Loughran (b. Northern Ireland 1973, lives in Dublin, Ireland) creates interventionist art works that disrupt public spaces. In 2006, he began developing a series of context schools under the name of hedgeschoolproject. Hedgeschools were hidden schools that developed as a response to the Penal laws in Ireland that restricted citizens’ participation in education and other areas of social life.
Ferhat Özgür (b. Turkey 1965, lives in Ankara, Turkey) uses a number of mediums, including video, photography, painting, and installation. His works are a direct reflection of his subjective reality—the social, political, and cultural characteristics of the time and place in which he lives. Taking part in 6th Berlin Biennale, 10th Istanbul Biennale, Örebro Biennale-Sweeden and 1st Tirana Biennale, the works of Ferhat Ozgur have been shown in numerous venues including Centre George Pompidou, Reina Sofia National Museum, Magazin 4, Casino Luxembourg, Salzburg Modern Art Museum, Fondazione Sandretto Torino and Fotografie Forum Frankfurt.
Seamus Nolan (b. Ireland 1978, lives in Dublin, Ireland) investigates the relative value of objects and social processes as they appear within different economies and contexts. He strives to unravel the commonplace, to recognize the inherent structure or code from which we construct and de-construct the world around us. In Hotel Ballymun, 2007, Nolan enlisted the help and support of Ballymun’s network of community groups to convert the flats of a high-rise housing project into short-stay hotel rooms.
Sarah Pierce (b. USA 1968, lives in Dublin, Ireland) uses the umbrella term “The Metropolitan Complex” to describe her art practice. Central to her activity is a consideration of forms of gathering, both historical examples and those she initiates. The processes of research and presentation that Pierce undertakes highlight a continual renegotiation of the terms for making art: the potential for dissent and self-determination, the slippages between individual work and institutional context, and the proximity of past artworks. In 2005, Pierce represented Ireland at the 51st Venice Biennale.
Diane Samuels (lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), co-founder of City of Asylum/Pittsburgh, is a well-known Pittsburgh artist whose work examines history, place, and dialogue. In her installation entitled Mapping Sampsonia Way, Samuels explores relationships between residents and visitors, image and text, spectators and events, and experience and memory. Samuels has lived on the North Side’s Sampsonia Way since 1980, and her installation uses the voices and experiences of the area’s residents to create a visual recollection of the artist’s neighborhood.
John Smith (b. 1952, lives in London, England) is fascinated by the immersive power of narrative and the spoken word, he has developed a body of work which deftly subverts the perceived boundaries between documentary and fiction, representation and abstraction. Drawing upon the raw material of everyday life, Smith's meticulously crafted films rework and transform reality, playfully exploring and exposing the language of cinema.
Elisabeth Subrin (b. 1965, lives in New York, New York) is an artist and filmmaker who engages a wide range of genres, forms and contexts to create conceptually driven projects in film, video, photography and installation. Her work seeks intersections between history and subjectivity, investigating the nature and poetics of psychological "disorder," the legacy of feminism, and the impact of recent social and political history on contemporary life and consciousness.
Dawn Weleski (lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is a Pittsburgh artist whose community-based work re-purposes local newspapers, public transportation commutes, and meals with family as transformative social stages to reveal their own social wellness and cultural renewal and to provide a forum for awareness. Her work often acts as a political and social stress test, measuring the health of routine within shared cultural behavior.
This exhibition is the third and final program in a series curated by Mark Garry and Georgina Jackson as part of the Mattress Factory’s Curator-in-Residence Program made possible by generous support from The Fine Foundation. Funding from Culture Ireland, Allegheny Regional Asset District, The Heinz Endowments, Richard King Mellon Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts has made Neighbo(u)rhood possible.
ferhat özgür, 'metamorphosis chat', 2009,
installation view, the mattress factory museum of art, pittsburgh, 2011